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  • Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness has reiterated the Government’s commitment to protect the human rights of Jamaicans and to reduce the country’s crime rate.
  • “Though crime is a challenge, our response will not be with more violence. Law and order, decency and respect for our citizens will overcome criminality in this country and the Government is committed to that path,” the Prime Minister said.
  • In the meantime, the Prime Minister condemned acts of violence against children, adding that the Government remains resolute in protecting and promoting their rights.

Prime Minister the Most Hon. Andrew Holness has reiterated the Government’s commitment to protect the human rights of Jamaicans and to reduce the country’s crime rate.

The Prime Minister noted that representatives from Amnesty International were in the island recently, and he reassured them that the country stands committed “to protect, preserve and advance human rights in Jamaica and that we are not going to, in any way, change the course that we are on in terms of the maintenance of human rights”.

He was speaking at the launch of The Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children, held at the Office of the Prime Minister, in Kingston, today (November 24).

“Though crime is a challenge, our response will not be with more violence. Law and order, decency and respect for our citizens will overcome criminality in this country and the Government is committed to that path,” the Prime Minister said.

Mr. Holness further noted that a comprehensive programme is being developed to address the issue of violence in the society.

“The Government has to start with the institutions over which it has leverage and control, so the State should not endorse or use violence as a normalised tool of control over its citizens,” he argued.

“Our police force must never be seen as a purveyor of violence against its citizens and we are going to change that. Our State homes must not be perceived as purveyors of violence against our children. Our schools must not be seen as purveyors of violence against our children,” Mr. Holness emphasised.

In the meantime, the Prime Minister condemned acts of violence against children, adding that the Government remains resolute in protecting and promoting their rights.

“Too often violence happens in what are designed to be safe places for our children – homes, schools and communities – and by people children know and trust,” he said, adding that “we also need to be extremely cognisant of forms of violence through the Internet”.

Mr. Holness said children are the island’s most precious assets and they should not live in fear – fear for themselves, siblings, parents or caregivers.
July 12, 2016, Jamaica became a pathfinder country, joining the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children with a committed goal to end the abuse, exploitation and all forms of violence against children.

He said as a pathfinder country, Jamaica is committed to providing comprehensive, coordinated and multisectoral services for preventing and responding to violence.

“We are prepared to strengthen legislation to protect children from all forms of violence and exploitation by bringing all sectors together in a movement to end violence and provide children with a meaningful role at the heart of that movement,” the Prime Minister added.

Mr. Holness said the Government will mobilise resources to effect meaningful and accelerated changes to ensure progress in this regard.

“We will not miss this opportunity to have a serious, positive impact on our children. We are committed to action and demonstrating to each other and the world how collaboration and partnership can pave the way to sustainable and long-term solutions for ending violence against children,” he noted.

Mr. Holness said that close monitoring of the programme will be undertaken to ensure that the initiative is not merely symbolic, but one that is evidence-based and results-driven.

This cross-sectional approach will provide a stronger social safety net and fits within the seven strategies of the INSPIRE programme put forward by The Global Partnership to reduce violence against children.

Violence against children and adolescents includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, and neglect. For infants and younger children, violence mainly takes the form of maltreatment at the hands of parents, caregivers and other authority figures.

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